In recent years a new group of gamers has emerged in the video and online casino gaming ecosystem. Gaming influencers are gamers who play video games or at social media online casinos who infuse their channels with talk about the games that they play, their lifestyle, outside interests and issues that come up in the gaming world. Their streams include advertisements for their sponsors – gaming companies that make gaming hardware and software and other types of products.
Some of the biggest brands now advertise via influencers. They are tapping into the fantasies of young people who are fascinated by the behind-the-scenes world of competitive gaming. In the same way that previous generations attended sports games, read everything that they could find about their favorite players, bought merchandise that featured their favored teams and players and bought tickets to attend games, under-30s of today are passionate about gaming and electronic sports.
These young consumers watch influencers on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook Gaming as they follow their favorite esports teams’ and players’ stats and root for their favored competitors. They are living in a world in which gaming has taken a center spot and their heroes now appear digitally alongside sport, film, TV, music and other mainstream celebrities.
None of this has escaped the attention of major brands which are sponsoring these new rock stars in return for the influencers’ endorsements of their products. The influencers peddle the brands by hosting digital shows, leading sellout events and acting as spokespersons, all of which is aimed at driving engagement forward.
Gaming and esports is showing formidable growth from one year to the next. Millions of fans and followers watch the influencers, demonstrating the mind-boggling amount of power that some of these gaming influencers hold. One, 23-year-old Mr. Beast, has 63.1 million followers and through his videos he’s raised $20 million to plant trees, launched a burger chain and used drones for ecological purposes.
Sports stars have engaged fans by participating in alternate media channels to become “influencers” – Donald Glover rapped as Childish Gambino and Michael Jordan stared in the fun-filled Space Jam. Now gaming content creators are getting in on the act.
Some gamers chat their way through their streams while others create spectacles – influencer Logan Paul from YouTube drew a huge crowd when he fought boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, Corpse Husband partnered with Machine Gun Kelly on a song (launching new merchandise that sold out within minutes), Loserfruit championed bushfire relief in 2020 while acting as global brand ambassador for Elf Cosmetics…..and on and on.
The audiences are growing from one year to the next – on Twitch, the number of viewers was 1.07 in 2018 – today it’s 3.02 million. Gaming influencers have become strategic partners for brands both within and outside the gaming industry. Brands have come to especially prize male influencers because young men are a particularly hard-to-reach niche for marketers.
Partnering with a gaming influencer isn’t suitable for every brand but if you think that teaming up with an influencer can boost your product’s sales, give it a go!
To launch a gaming influencer campaign:
- Goals – set the goals for your campaign. What do you expect the influencer to accomplish? Help you increase sales of a specific product line? Raise brand awareness? Reach new customers? Different influencers have expertise in different types of marketing so consider what you want out of your campaign before you launch it.
- Gaming Platform – Choose your platform. Watch streams on the various platforms before you make your choice. The three largest include YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming and Twitch. Twitch has the most content creators and the largest number of viewers (represents 67% of hours streamed) but YouTube leads in video on demand (VOD) views and Facebook Gaming’s audience growth is currently the highest of the three.
- Influencers – the influencer(s) that you choose should match your target audience(s). Figure out which age group and gender you want to target and then find an influencer whose audience (and him/her him/herself) matches that demographic. Check out their performance metrics to ensure that they have enough followers to make it worth your while to invest in them. Review their content to make sure that it aligns with your brand – if the content creator’s language and presentation seem that they might be offensive to the audience that you want to reach, move on.
- Invite – Although many influencers are looking to partner with brands to make money, many influencers are picky about their partnerships. In the same way that you want to make sure that the influencer will adequately represent your brand, influencers want to make sure that the brand that they represent is aligned with their content and presentations. If there’s a influencer that you are trying to attract, contact them, explain how you believe that your brand and their content match and perhaps address things that you like about their content. Once you’ve developed a relationship, you can make your pitch.
- Collaboration – work with the influencer so that they can best promote you and help you reach your goals. Prepare to set them up with items that they can give away so that they can draw in the audience and promote your product in a way that will excite viewers. You want to create influencer content that meets your goals through strategies such as unboxing videos, promo codes, affiliate campaigns, sponsorship of esports players/teams/leagues, esports tournaments, etc. The influencer’s job is to create excitement while driving sales.
Today gaming influencers offer some of the best marketing strategies for engaging diverse audiences.